EDUCATION AND INFORMATION
Education Post, July 17, 2018
The Children’s Book for Parents Who Want Their Kids to be REALLY Smart
By Stephanie Morse
When most children’s books are talked about by reviewers the focus is primarily on the characters in the stories and the nice warm fuzzy feeling that belies the reading experience. However it is rare when an author actually rejects the fuzzy feeling factor in favour of an alternative approach that is designed to teach and develop children’s intellectual abilities as well as provide a moral compass.
Teddy Hayes’ “Maji Muku Storybook for Children” is this rare bird in the children’s book category.
Despite his breaking away from the pack or maybe because of it this book has garnered consistent star reviews and wide praise from Amazon book purchasers.
In addition to a host of interesting stories and lovingly eccentric characters this book moves many steps further towards defining and creating an environment that purposely challenges and seeks to educate and stimulate both parents and children.
The author admits that some parents have criticized him for making the names of the characters more difficult to pronounce that most children’s books. Instead of Jane and George, Teddy has opted for names like Ropopoley and Wamabu Jr. which he has purposely done to stretch children’s imaginations beyond their comfort zones. He justifies this by saying that since we are living evermore in a global society and communicating with people from different cultures online that children should become used to names that sound different from their own.
Hayes also says he wrote the book in this way because he is very concerned because he is seeing that with the increasing digitization of our society, many children are losing the ability to think both critically and creatively. He thinks children education is too often being led by the limitation of computer programmers to the point that if an answer is not provided within the confines of a computer menu or that if a solution is not presented in a multiple choice format many children cannot imagine that other answers may exist. There are many children who cannot tell time on a clock with hour and minute hands because they have never mastered the concept of imaginative representation (i.e.: having the number one on the clock face represent five minutes) It is for this reason that he places a work sheet at the end of each story with a set of questions that is meant to engage and stimulate discussion and critical thinking between the parents, teachers and students.
Hayes says “I also wanted to introduce the idea of foreign languages to children in a way that they might naturally embrace the language rather than be repelled by it because it was different. For example at the end of one of the stories there is a video song that plays the chorus to the same song from a YouTube video in Hindi, German, Spanish Portuguese and French.
Another feature is the unique downloadable themed birthday party package that is included as part of the book and includes video, masks, audio stories, and even birthday hats and cake recipes.
Professional teachers and many parents are praising this book as a milestone because it purposely sets out to do something more substantive than just provide conventional feel good children’s entertainment.
On the website. www.majimukuforest.com there is a section that talks about “edutainment” where educating and providing entertainment together is a key element in the philosophy surrounding the creation of the book
Because so much planning and thought has gone into the development and writing of this book, some educators and parents have even gone so far as to say that “this book is ONLY for parents who want their children to be REALLY smart.”